Richard Agee

Can one be ‘under grace’ yet obey God’s Torah?

Richard AgeeHow do we explain to others about being “under grace” and still obey the Torah? Are we “under grace” or “under law”? Paul explains this in his letter to the Romans.

“The Torah was given to Moshe (Moses), [and] grace and truth came through Yeshua the Messiah” (John 1:17). The conjunctions but or and are not in the Greek for that verse, so the addition of one or the other is based on one’s perspective on all the Torah remaining the path for “liv[ing] by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4; Deut. 8:3). If grace and truth did come through Yeshua, then do the words in Genesis through Malachi have no truth in them?

What does “under law” and “under grace” mean in Rom. 6:14? Does this mean the Torah (Genesis through Deuteronomy) is abolished? Careful reading of Romans from front to back helps explain the discussions in Paul’s letters Galatians, Colossians and Ephesians.

What does “faith” and “obedience unto faith” mean in Rom. 1:5-6? The underlying meaning of faith in Hebrew and Greek is trust. To what are we to trust and be obedient? How?

Let’s go to Rom. 6:14 where the Apostle Paul says “Sin shall not have dominion over you for you are not under Torah but under grace.” This verse is quite prophetic, but also quite confusing. If you take this one line and place it out of context, you interpret the verse to mean that the law has been abolished and done away with but we can’t read the Apostle Paul’s writings that way. The Apostle Paul, when writing the Book of Romans, goes out of his way to define all the terms he uses. He defines what grace, justice, redemption, faith are very carefully. If you understand Romans, you can understand many of Paul’s other writings, including Galatians.

Let’s go to Rom. 1:5 where Paul says, “through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles for His name’s sake,” What is faith in Hebrew? Truth. What is faith in Greek? Trust. Paul is telling us to trust Yeshua the Messiah. Through Yeshua we can be obedient. Without Yeshua, we don’t have the strength to be obedient. Yeshua is the head of the church, we look to Him for answers about what the New Covenant is and how to live in it.

Paul goes on to say in Rom. 1:7, “to all who are beloved of God in Rome, called as saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” What does grace mean? If you don’t read Romans, you won’t understand grace. Noah, in Gen. 11, received grace from God. Noah, his wife, sons, and daughter in laws all received grace. Everyone else died. Noah and his family received grace when Noah believed God and followed through in that belief by obeying God and going about the work of building the ark. Grace is also being grateful, gratitude, merciful kindness.

Yeshua warned the Pharisees at one point in the context of paying tithe that they have ignored the weightier matters of the Torah, which are justice, mercy, faith/trust. When God confronts you with the issue and you are now looking at Him and He asks you to give him your life, when you say, “OK” God replies and says “I have already given my Son for you.” That is grace and trust. We are called to trust the one who gave His Son for us. The Torah can’t do that, all it can do is lead us to that.

What is righteousness? Doing what is right. How is grace connected to righteousness? Yeshua said in Matt. 5:20, “For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” What is the righteousness of the Pharisee’s? To know and live the Torah. The Apostle Paul says that the Torah is righteousness. Reach really deep down into yourself and asked yourself if you are a law-abiding citizen. If you are, that is righteousness. The Pharisee’s had that in abundance, how do you and I exceed that?

Favor is going to come. God will give you something that you can not do. Without the Torah, there is no grace.

What Torah do we read? Is there more than one? Isaiah tells us there are two Torah’s: one from Mt. Sinai and one from Mt. Zion. Has the other Torah already arrived? The first Torah can not deliver you from death, this is what the Apostle Paul says. No matter how many Sabbaths, or Holy Days you keep, it doesn’t save you. It’s just an image. If you want to know what sin is, go to the Torah and find out.

Do we follow the Torah of the Spirit or the Torah of the Letter? We do need to learn what is written because God describes Himself in great detail in the Tanak. Yeshua told His disciples “If you believe in Elohim, believe in me,” and “If you have seen me, you have seen the father.” It took Pentecost for us to receive the Holy Spirit to give us greater understanding.

When does God give you His righteousness. Go back to Abraham. Because Abraham trusted God, Abraham was righteous. Abraham was not righteous because of obedience. He was righteous because of trust. When Yeshua said that our righteousness must exceed the Pharisees, what does that mean?

Rom. 3:23-24 says, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.” God bought you back with His Son. Rom. 3:25 says, “whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed.” What does “propitiation” mean? It means to win someone’s favor. God is doing something to win something. Man is not winning something. How did God win mankind over? By the death of His Son. That is what this all about. There is nothing we can do in our lives, no matter how long we live, to win God. God wins us. God loved His creation so much that He is going to win it back. God is going to atone for mankind and bring mankind back to Him.

You might not think of yourself as much of a prize, but God doesn’t think that way. When we are under grace, we remember that God is the one who won us over to Him, not the other way around. We have a portion of God’s Spirit dwelling in us because He had each and every one of us in mind. While we were at war with God, He had to win us over. We are on God’s side because He won us over, not because we earned anything from him.

 

Speaker: Richard Agee. Summary: Tammy.


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